March 3, 2011 by Julie Montanaro
Paint was flying today in the name of cutting crime and boosting business in the capital city.
The target of it all? Graffiti.
These Tallahassee Police Officers came armed with rollers and buckets of white paint ... wiping out in a matter of minutes what may have taken taggers with spray cans much longer.
"When we allow this, you're pretty much letting people know you don't care and this just lets crime come in," said Major Lewis Johnson as he poured the paint.
Teams spread out Thursday to try to "white out" graffitti at nearly 60 spots across the city. We caught up with this team off All Saints Street.
A man who rents space for a local shriners club was pleasantly surprised to see them.
"I think anything we can do to improve the beauty of the neighborhood is a good point," said Dr. Otis Kirksey. "Small things matter."
Some might see this and wonder if officers don't have more important things to do, but they say graffitti can affect the bottom line for an entire neighborhood in terms of crime and money.
"When tourists and visitors come to the capital city, if they see buildings with graffiti all over town, they see broken windows, they see dialpidated structures, then they won't want to come to Tallahassee," said CAPT Glenn Sapp as he wielded a paint roller on the side of a building.
"I think they're covering up art," said Andrew McLean as he sipped coffee at a shop on Railroad Avenue.
Word of the "paint out" spread through coffee shops, sandwich shops and barber shops. Some were downright disappointed, saying graffitti only adds to the character of this neighborhood.
"This is the arts community of Tallahassee. This is where the artists live, have their studios back there in Railroad Square and we should embrace that," McLean said.